My Mom flew in from Virginia to spend a week with us and to meet baby Jasper. I tried to convince her to pack everything in a carry on to avoid extra charges from the airline, but she declined, saying she had too much stuff to bring. Upon arriving at our home, it turned out that the reason for the checked bag was a considerable stash of vegetables from her garden. I love that the night before she flew out, part of her packing ritual included running out to one of her beautiful raised beds and digging up about 10 lbs. of her gorgeous potatoes and picking close to 2 lbs. of yellow and green waxy beans. Talk about a bountiful harvest!
I felt honored to be charged with cooking such lovely vegetables (although Sam was quick to remind me that potatoes are actually tubers. Sorry for the lapse.) and a little anxious to do them justice. I wanted to do something that would bring out the flavor of both and not hide the amazing flavor of such freshness. Fortunately for the potatoes, Bryan Kennedy came to mind. Bryan is a friend of ours from Seattle and he and his wife Freya enjoy good food as much as we do. Freya and I, when not talking about God and family, have been known to have long phone conversations detailing out meals that we have had or plan to make, as well as generous swapping of recipes. I remembered her telling me about Bryan's invention of Roasted Potatoes with Bacon, Cherry Tomatoes & Gruyere and started salivating just thinking about it. The day before, I prepped 2 lbs. of chicken legs by rubbing them with a mix of salt, cracked pepper and cayenne, refrigerating them for a few hours before dumping in a gallon of buttermilk for them to swim in overnight. The menu was beginning to take shape in my mind's eye:
A little more sophisticated approach to a Southern staple of fried chicken, green beans, potatoes and lemonade. What could be more appropriate, especially for two women with enough Southern blood to insure membership in The Daughters of the Confederacy if we so chose (God Bless the Fain Family and General Lee and May the South Rise Again). I called Freya and traded her my sweet tart with honey sweetened creme fraiche & fresh raspberries for Bryan's potatoes, got to work breading the chicken and got the boys snapping the beans and juicing lemons for lemonade. It all came together like a finely trained orchestra, if I do say so myself (oh dear, I sound like Mrs. Elton from Emma...)
When the potatoes were reaching the end of their tenure in the oven, I blanched the green beans, sauteed a few cloves of garlic in olive oil, added the green beans for a few minutes to heat them through and added a handful of good feta.
The result was a delectable, finger-licking, good-to-the-last-bite meal that was as fun to eat as it was to prepare.
We stuffed ourselves silly and had to go for a walk before diving into the Lilikoi cheesecake Sam & I made using passion fruit butter my mom had brought us from her place in Hawaii.
Could someone please explain why it's taking me so long to lose the extra baby weight?
If you've got a stash of potatoes that need to be eaten up, I highly recommend the following scrumptious method of consuming them:
Bryan Kennedy's Roasted Potatoes:
5 lbs. of Yukon Gold potatoes washed and cut into bite size pieces
5 oz. bacon
Pint of cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup grated gruyere
On a rimmed baking sheet, pour a few glugs of olive oil on pan. Throw on potato pieces and stir; salt and grind pepper generously. Place in preheated 425 degree oven and set timer for 10 minutes. Chop up about 5 oz. good bacon (I used a local pepper thick sliced bacon that was delish) and sprinkle over potatoes when timer goes off. Set timer for another 10 minutes. Wash and dry a pint of cherry tomatoes. Throw them in, give the whole thing a good stir and set timer for another 10 minutes. Grate about 1/2 cup of gruyere and sprinkle over the mixture and bake until melted and starting to bubble. By this time, many of the tomatoes will have popped, oozing their juices over the bacon and potatoes. If not, bake for another 10 minutes or so.